This year many of us have been stuck inside and confined to the same daily routine. We teamed up with renowned designer, Patrick Grant, to revive the Sunday drive after lockdown ends in the spring and reclaim it as an occasion to enjoy in style – which he did in the brand new BMW 4 Series.

Bold and stylish, Patrick is a highly successful fashion designer and also a household name as one half of the judging panel on BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee. With a background in engineering he is the perfect person to talk about driving with style. 

We sat down with Patrick to find out what the Sunday drive means to him.

Patrick Grant standing in front of BMW 4 Series

Why is Sunday driving making a revival?

We are all looking for ways to connect ourselves with nature, to slow down, and to find ways to give ourselves a change of scene, to explore the wide open spaces around us. 

Over the last year for many of us it has felt a bit like the walls are closing in. And whilst I’ve enjoyed getting out walking and cycling driving allows me to get a little further afield, to get to some of the amazing places that for reasons of time or fitness (lack of) I simply cannot reach on foot or by bike. 

And as daft as it might sound the Sunday Drive can become an occasion in itself. Maybe think about dressing for it, putting on something nice, taking care to polish your shoes and maybe iron a shirt, make the time spent preparing part of the enjoyment of the event itself. The pandemic has meant that I’ve worn pretty much the same five bits of clothing for a year. Treat your Sunday Drive as an occasion and stick on the Sunday best.

There’s also something fundamentally enjoyable about driving not to get somewhere but just to be somewhere.

New BMW 4 Series front 3/4 view

What is your favourite route to drive?

I moved to Lancashire in April of last year to help manage the pivoting of our factory over to making PPE. And I never left. I currently live on the edge of the Forest of Bowland AONB, a beautiful, largely empty, almost largely ignored area of incredible gritstone fells and wide open moorland. Its ever changing landscape and winding single track roads are a huge source of enjoyment either on my bike or in the car.  Just to the east of me lie the West Pennines, just to the north the Yorkshire Dales and to the north West sit the incredible scenery of the Lake District which I on a clear day I can see on my walks. It would be hard to pic a favourite route, some days you long for the mountains on other days you might want to see the sea.

An I know that not everyone has the Lake District on their doorstep but there are fantastic landscapes to enjoy right across the UK. As a cyclist I’m always looking for those empty places, the quiet lanes, the unique geography and I doubt there are many people that don’t have somewhere genuinely inspiring very close to home.

Patrick Grant in drivers seat of BMW 4 Series

What’s the best thing about planning a trip?

I enjoy the route planning almost as much as the drive itself. I can happily spend hours staring at a map. Get the old road atlas out, get the big folding paper ones off the shelf, seek out the green spaces around you, find the empty bits, the bumpy bits.  Even the planning can transport you somewhere else. It’s an activity that can be deeply mindful and enjoyable.

What else would you recommend people take out on a drive?

I like to plan myself a nice picnic lunch. A sandwich, a hard-boiled egg perhaps a delicious sausage roll (my local farm shop Honeywells does one that is famous across Lancashire), and flask of hot coffee or tea. The picnic means I can stop where I choose, I like nothing better than sitting to enjoy a bite of lunch in a spectacular location. This is proper eating out.  

And I don’t go anywhere without a camera (not a phone) because I love to document the places I’ve enjoyed, and because being disconnected from the rest of the world for a couple of hours seems to do the mind a world of good.

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